3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
Can I feel both incredible thanksgiving and fear all at once?
This passage from Colossians is a prayer, likely written around three decades after Jesus’ death, during a time fraught with strife and destruction. There was confusion in the evolving Jewish and Christian community about who Jesus truly was. Also, around this same time, there was a massive earthquake that caused horrible devastation in the region around Colossae. The earthquake would cause this small city to fall into disarray. Scholars report that Colossae never truly recovered.
Yet, nearly two thousand years later, what remains through Paul’s letter to the Colossians is a basic reminder of the Christian values of faith, hope, and love. Paul reminds us to continue to offer thanksgiving, despite all adversity. Even when I am initially fearful, I am reminded that it is possible to be thankful during any time — most especially through a time of incredible challenge.
Sometimes, the Christian values of faith, hope, and love feel like all we have. However, let Paul remind us that these are not just words! The fact that these words echo through the ages to today is testament to something that means and says so much more. When we read in Paul’s prayer that “you have this faith and love because of the hope reserved for you in heaven,” we are invited to remember the church at Colossae that remained faithful despite hardship. Therefore, because of Jesus Christ’s incredible love, we too must remain faithful. Because of Christ’s incredible love for us, we too will keep the hope of heaven alive in our hearts.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Through it all, we will keep faith and love alive because of the hope of heaven. These are not just words, but a testament to unending faith and love through all adversity. How can you identify with the Colossians in adversity? What or who reminds you to keep that faith, hope, and love alive?
Prayer: Gracious God, you were there in the beginning and through all the challenges humanity has ever faced. You were there with Jesus on the cross. You were there with the earliest believers who helped shepherd a Christian community into being by faith. Even in the most difficult days, we know your love remains with us. Help us to feel your embrace. Help us keep the hope of heaven alive in our hearts. Amen.